The Transition to Capitalism

The Transition to Capitalism is a central area of intellectual concern within Marxism. The debate extends back to the 19th Century, and spans a number of disciplines and theoretical perspectives (in some cases discussed as a transition to ‘industrial’ or ‘market’ society). A full and comprehensive list of this material is beyond the means of the website. Nonetheless, the material organised in the links below outlines the first coherent dialogues on this topic, as well as important additional sources that have deepened the discussion since. The different reading lists are enumerated in chronological order.

Reading Lists on the transition
The Dobb-Sweezy Debate
The Brenner Debate


Origins of the ‘State’

Debate on ‘The Asiatic Mode of Production’

State and Society in Ancient Greece

State and Society in Ancient Rome

Development of Feudalism

From Feudalism to Capitalism – English and French paths

Italian Renaissance


Agrarian Capitalism and English Revolution

The Transitions & Bourgeois Revolution

The Modern British State

Post-French Revolution Europe

Debates within Marxism on Class, State, Society

Debates on Historical Materialism


Financialisation is an important contemporary debate for scholars of diverse theoretical and disciplinary extractions. Against the assumptions of capital market efficiency — put forward by mainstream financial economics — financialisation studies emphasise instead the crisis-prone and socially biased nature of modern finance. Political Marxism aims at contributing to this debate by capturing the role of agency and political conflict in the construction of financialisation.

Reading list on financialisation